Keeping Safe Online

So much of our lives are online these days. With online users getting younger all the time, there’s never been more need to protect them, but older generations can be scammed online too, and quite easily!

 

Here are some tips on how to keep safe online

• Start with yourself; make sure your words online are kind.

• Protect your privacy. Yours and others’ privacy should be a priority, and respecting other people’s privacy is just as important as your own. Never share your personal information online, such as; passwords, banking details, addresses and phone numbers.

• Installing robust anti-virus software is essential to avoid computer viruses.

• Beware of unknown accounts. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t know them in real life, don’t trust them online.

• Social media can be a dangerous arena for young people. Spending hours looking at your peer’s stories of how they are living it up socially, have a bunch of followers, have filtered the perfect look, and look to be having a great life. Remember never to compare yourself to others. Not everything you see, hear, or read online is true. People will only post the best part of their day.

• Gaming should be fun, but it can be a playground for predators. Younger people and children need to be acutely aware that just because someone acts like they are 12 years old doesn’t necessarily mean they are — these individuals know all the tricks of the trade.

• Unfortunately, social media has allowed bullying to follow us all. Once all bullying stopped at the end of the school day, but now there’s 24/7 access. Nothing is stopping you from switching off when you arrive home. It won’t always be easy, but you don’t need to read comments or texts if you think they are disruptive.

• Grooming is a real but sad statistic of our time. Groomers will take their time to build trust; then, once they feel an emotional connection, they’ll often ask for images, details, or texts of a sexual nature. Never meet up in person with an online “friend”. Never share personal information or pictures of yourself. Talk to a trusted adult if you are in doubt and always tell an adult that you trust if you feel something is wrong.

• Keeping safe online is very much about being aware of scams, not trusting everything and everyone you speak to, and keeping your private life private.

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Final thoughts

Life is online for many of us, and there is no going back. But we need to build a culture that promotes reality, not fiction. Fiction in filtered selfies, fiction in how perfect your life is, and fiction around fake friends who are, let’s face it, mere strangers following your online presence.

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